Normally, my criteria for deciding when to cut my hair is based on how many people refer to me as 'Germaine Greer' and how long I can put up with them calling me that without losing my sense of humour. I think I have reached that point now.
I have only been to a hairdresser (or what we used to call 'barber') about three times since I was 13, and each time it has been a complete disaster, even though I am not what you would call a vain person.
Prior to age 13, I was sent every couple of weeks to a Welsh barber in Woking whose son I went to school with. He was a complete bastard, and may be the reason why I have been very wary of all Welshmen since.
Up until the time that I flatly refused to go to him one Saturday, I would sidle into his shop and he would say, "Right. Short back and sides it is then." When I told him that this was not the style of haircut I wanted, he would lie by telling me that my father had already issued the instructions, and he was going to give me a short back and sides whether I liked it or not.
He then wielded a large and primitive set of electrical clippers, allowing the short, itchy bits of hair to fall down the back of my shirt. Every fortnight, I waited for the sadistic sod to do what he always did as a finale.
He would pull out each ear with his finger and thumb, then deliberately cut into the flesh which connected them to my head with the coarse clippers. I would wince, knowing that this was not all he had planned for my punishment for just being me.
"You're bleeding," he would say with satisfaction, "I'll apply the styptic pencil."
I knew it was futile to refuse the styptic pencil, and I also knew that it hurt even more than the actual cutting, which was his sole reason for using it. His excuse was, however, that he was not having me bleed all over the white cloth which he loosely wrapped around my shoulders.
In a re-enactment of the old tradition of paying your executioner, I would stand up, thank him, give him two shillings, then slink out of the shop in pain, impotent anger and mute humiliation as he watched me leave with a nasty smirk on his red, bloated face. Every two fucking weeks - for years.
In writing the above, I suddenly find that I have re-kindled my innate and ancient hatred for all Welshmen, which is very unfortunate and I can only apologise for it, it being so deep and primal that it cannot be controlled without prolonged therapy sessions.
It was around my 13th birthday when my sister (the deceased one) became a hairdresser, so she took over until I left home 3 years later. That was much nicer, and - for the first time - I told her what the Welsh bastard had done to me every fortnight up until then. I think I tainted her outlook on the Welsh forever too. Ok, maybe it was not just his Welshness which made him the complete and utter sadistic pysochopath he was, but try telling that to a frightened and tortured, English child.
Then I hardly cut my hair at all for about 3 years, until I became so fed up with a long-haired hippy who was dossing on my floor, that I actually shaved my head in protest - and just to scare the shit out of him. Nobody except squaddies shaved their heads in those days. He left the next day, so job done.
I bought myself a good pair of hair-cutting scissors, and I have been cutting my own hair ever since. What I saved in hair-dressing fees I spent on drugs and alcohol, so I am quids in.
People used to say that with short hair I look like the Emperor Nero. These days I look like Caligula, which - to my mind - is a fuck-sight better than looking like Germaine Greer.